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Soil Sciences Major

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Soil Sciences

258 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
101 Master's Degrees Annually
#242 in Popularity
$81,150 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Soil Sciences Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many soil sciences graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 258
Master’s Degree 101
Doctor’s Degree 53
Basic Certificate 11
Graduate Certificate 10
Associate’s Degree 1

What Soil Sciences Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to soil sciences were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Soil Sciences Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in soil sciences should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Skills for Soil Sciences Majors

A major in soil sciences prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Abilities for Soil Sciences Majors

A major in soil sciences will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

What Can You Do With a Soil Sciences Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with soil sciences:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Agricultural Sciences Professors 7.9% $84,640
Microbiologists 8.2% $71,650
Soil and Plant Scientists 9.0% $63,950

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Soil Sciences?

258 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
35% Percent Women
12% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 258 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in soil sciences in 2019, making it rank #242 in popularity. This major attracts more men than women. About 65% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of soil sciences majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Soil Sciences Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 3
Black or African American 4
Hispanic or Latino 12
White 216
International Students 10
Other Races/Ethnicities 13

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Soil Sciences, too. About 3.9% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Brazil
  • Libya

How Much Do Soil Sciences Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that soil sciences students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree made a median starting salary of $39,100 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $35,700 (25th percentile) and $40,900 (75th percentile).

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One thing to note here is that not all of these people may be working in careers related to soil sciences.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $70,630 to $90,890 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to soil sciences. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Soil Sciences Major  ( 70630 to 90890 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
0K
250K

Some degrees associated with soil sciences may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to soil sciences have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 1.8%
Bachelor’s Degree 21.0%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 5.5%
Master’s Degree 18.1%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 1.6%
Doctoral Degree 35.2%
Post-Doctoral Training 16.7%

Online Soil Sciences Programs

In 2018-2019, 38 schools offered a soil sciences program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 1 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 0 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 2 0
Bachelor’s Degree 1 0
Post-Baccalaureate 1 0
Master’s Degree 24 2
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 23 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Soil Sciences Worth It?

The median salary for a soil sciences grad is $81,150 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 103% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $825,000 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to soil sciences.

Major Number of Grads
Agricultural Economics & Business 8,910
Animal Science 7,814
Horticulture 4,451
General Agriculture 3,551
Agricultural Production 3,536
Plant Sciences 3,278
Food Science Technology 2,222
Agricultural Mechanization 1,537
Animal Services 1,070
Agricultural Public Services 774
Other Agriculture 551
Food Processing 244
International Agriculture 141

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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